Sometimes I’ll find myself on the outskirts of a conversation that goes along the lines of, “Why did that person even read the book if they knew they weren’t going to like it? Why write reviews for things you don’t like?”
So, first of all, we already mostly addressed the second question when we talked about DNFing books. But also, just to close the loop, reviewers can write whatever reviews they want; that’s, like, the whole point.
But about that first question….
We here at TSR probably first encountered it when Ruby Dixon posted Ingrid’s review of The Corsair’s Captive on her Facebook page back in our very earliest reviewing days. Dixon posted the review because she was entertained by it, and I also think Ingrid’s review was really funny, but you know those social folks who seem determined to be perpetually grumpy…
Anyway, that might have been the first time, but it certainly wasn’t the last time that I’ve run across the question, “Why did they even…?” And that’s just a really limiting question, right?
“Because a friend who understands my reading preferences recommended that book to me as a unique interpretation of the trope I hate, and I thought I’d give it a shot and see if the trope worked for me in that context.”
“Because I was intrigued by the premise, even though I knew it would probably push me outside of my comfort zones, and I wanted to see if I would enjoy or be compelled by such a story.”
“Because I’ve never tried something like it before, and I figured, ‘why not?’”
“Because sometimes I need to make a choice that reminds me why I don’t actually like to make that choice anymore.”
“Because I wanted to finish reading to satisfy my rage.”
“Because I don’t DNF books.”
“Because limiting myself to only one thing that I already know I like isn’t doing me any favors.”
For me, right now, I’m reading a book centered on a romance including a relationship that I fully anticipate will be a struggle for me to see the relationship ending with a HEA. But that’s exactly why I chose it. The characters are going to have a relationship that exists outside my personal experience and comfort zone, and I am frankly eager for the author to bend my mind in ways that I do not expect. Sometimes when I do this, I change my perspective and can be more open-minded or thoughtful. Even if I don’t like the book, I’ll probably still have the experience I’m seeking (more or less), so why would I not read that book, then?